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Behind NYC’s ‘Fearless Girl’ Statue Are 2 Corporate Giants

The aim of the Fearless Girl was to build what ad experts call a "brand experience" of a product or message, using some kind of creative, unique vehicle

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People stop to photograph the "Fearless Girl" statue, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. The statue was installed by investment firm State Street Global Advisors. An inscription at the base reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. She makes a difference.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A bronze of a little girl defiantly facing Wall Street’s Charging Bull didn’t appear suddenly or spontaneously in the middle of the night in Manhattan’s financial district.

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It took months of intricate planning by two corporate giants to install “Fearless Girl” under the veil of darkness in time for Wednesday’s International Women’s Day. Within hours, she became the talk of the town and the world, a sculpted celebrity drawing crowds as a symbol of a woman’s right to move into power positions.

Behind the scenes, State Street Global Advisors, a $2.5 trillion asset managing firm, created the Fearless Girl project with McCann New York, one of the world’s top ad agencies whose client is State Street. The financial giant wanted to spread a serious message: that more women should be appointed to the boards of the Russell 3000, a broad index of U.S. companies.

FILE - A statue titled Fearless Girl faces the Wall Street bull in New York, March 7, 2017.

FILE – A statue titled Fearless Girl faces the Wall Street bull in New York, March 7, 2017.

Only 16 percent of board seats in Russell 3000 companies are held by women, according to ISS Analytics, a business research firm. Also on State Street’s radar are about 500 other firms in Great Britain and Australia.

The aim of the Fearless Girl was to build what ad experts call a “brand experience” of a product or message, using some kind of creative, unique vehicle — in this case, a sculpture, created by artist Kristen Visbal.

“This thing went viral, and it spread globally, all over,” McCann spokesman Jeremy Miller said. “I’m watching my Twitter feed and it’s still a constant flow, filled with images of the Fearless Girl.”

“In my 20 years in advertising, I personally have not seen anything like this,” he added.

On Thursday, streams of gleeful fans posed for pictures with the 250-pound Fearless Girl statue as she stared down the 7,000-pound Charging Bull.

McCann obtained a one-week permit from the city before starting the installation in Bowling Green Park at 4 a.m. Tuesday, completing it as the sun rose on another New York business day.

The ad agency wasn’t trying to be secretive.

“We just didn’t want to disrupt business in the area,” Miller said.

And they wanted to mirror the 1989 arrival of the girl’s bronze counterpart.

The Charging Bull was dropped into place in the middle of a Manhattan night by artist Arturo Di Modica and his team, who had no permit. The powerful piece was a symbol of Americans’ can-do energy following the 1987 stock market crash, and it proved so popular that the city allowed the bull to stay.

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At the end of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that Fearless Girl could remain in Lower Manhattan through April 2. Popular support for the piece to be kept permanently is growing, with petitions being signed.

“Our future rests in the hands of fearless girls,” the Democratic mayor tweeted. (VOA)

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Donald Trump’s First Reaction to 9/11 Attack is Making Rounds

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9/11 attack
Donald Trump. Pixabay

Sep 13, 2017: As the world reminisced the 16th-anniversary of 9/11 attack, the horrific day in the timeline of terrorism, Donald Trump made the headlines but for all the wrong reasons.

The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre was harrowing for the world, but the way Donald Trump responded in the year of attack was not sympathetic to record.

Trump was speaking to a local TV station in 2001, WWOR, and when the host Alan Marcus, asked “Donald, you have one of the landmark buildings down in the Financial District, 40 Wall Street. Did you have any damage, or did you — what’s happened down there?

Also Read: Donald Trump to Revisit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) if Congress Stumbles 

Trump responded, “I mean, 40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually before the World Trade Center the tallest, and then when they built the World Trade Center it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


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American Record-Breaking NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Set to Return Back to Earth After 288-Days Space Mission

At the time of their landing, Whitson will have gathered a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career which is more than any American astronaut.

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Peggy Whitson
American record-holder NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. Wikimedia
  • Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return back to Earth from International Space Station
  • The astronauts return after completing 288 days in space in Expedition 52
  • Peggy Whitson holds the record for the maximum time spend in space by an American astronaut

Washington, September 2, 2017 : NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the record for maximum time spent in space by any American astronaut, is set to return to Earth on Saturday, completing a 288-day mission at the International Space Station.

Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 9.22 p.m. EDT on Saturday (6.52 a.m. Sunday, India time).

At the time of their landing, she will have accrued a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career, more than any American astronaut, placing her eighth on the all-time space endurance list, NASA said.

Whitson’s return will mark the end of her third long-duration stay onboard the space station.

She launched on November 17 with 377 days in space already under her belt, and on April 24 broke Jeff Williams’ standing US record of 534 cumulative days in space.

Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female.

Yurchikhin and Fischer, who launched in April, will complete 136 days in space on their return. Yurchikhin will return to Earth with a total of 673 days in space on his five flights, putting him in seventh place on the all-time endurance list.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 53 will begin aboard the station under the command of Randy Bresnik.

Along with his crewmates Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members.

Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch on September 12 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, NASA said. (IANS)

 

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)